Have I already mentioned that I’ve been wishing I could stay home for years? I’ve thought that if I didn’t have to run around nearly every day of the week that I could do a better job at living. Then it happened and I struggled to treat it like the gift of time that it was. Lockdown, quarantine, whatever you call it, it hasn’t felt like a gift. That might be because I never felt like I had a new treasury of free time handed to me, or maybe that all the new stresses exceeded the relief of not needing to be anywhere. Family life and work still occupy most of my waking minutes, but I am realizing that I have time to exhale if I just stop and do it. I’m still not very good at that.
I’ve mostly moved into a place of peace and acceptance regarding all the things that didn’t or won’t happen this year, and being thankful for what will. There are new and different good things happening that wouldn’t have were life to be as it was before. Rather than worry over missed opportunities, I am embracing new ones and encouraging my kids to try to think along those lines as well. I think it’s mostly working, though Gabe will still tell you that there hasn’t been a single silver lining. Maybe he’ll find one eventually.
When I realized that Larkspur likely wouldn’t be playing flute with the band this fall, I rented her a cello. She’s wanted to learn for years, but I have to place limits on the number of instruments a child can play. I thought there was a possibility that in-person orchestra might happen (mask wearing a possibility as opposed to band and all the blowing on instruments), and that would give Lark something to do outside the house this fall. As it turns out, there won’t be in-person band or orchestra this fall. But Larkspur is learning to play cello anyway via facetime lessons with my longtime dear friend Grace who lives in faraway Colorado. I would have never considered that a possibility were it not for all the online music lessons happening now. Every time I think about it I smile.
There are lots of little things… Beatrix has been wanting to learn French, and a friend just offered to teach a small French class. Keats won’t be able to play in an orchestra this fall, but a local violin shop is organizing chamber music groups, so he will at least be able to play in a quartet. I think it’s good for him to do something new. Both he and Gabe are playing baseball again as of a few weeks ago, mostly showcase tournaments with hopes for college scholarships.
And my little guys, they get to have me home all week. That means that I have more time to plan things with them and for them. It means I can be a more consistent homeschooler. Maybe we can actually take day trips as we used to years ago before the calendar filled up with activities and places to be.
Our public library finally started allowing us to place online holds for curbside pickup. We’ve started a new ritual of picking up our holds each week and then going for a treat at a nearby bakery with outdoor seating. I am alternating between taking Mabel and then Silas and Job, who choose to go together rather than each separately. It’s funny how exciting it is to be handed that bag of books each week. We miss browsing the shelves, but there is definitely something to be said for this whole curbside thing.
Mabel is a challenge to keep busy, so I am constantly brainstorming ideas for her. I need to be well prepared with activities to keep her busy before the older kids start schooling again later this month. She’s at a fun age and I am loving coming up with ideas for her. With our local thrift store closed for months, I’ve been wishing for vases, small ones for Mabel to arrange flowers in. The store finally reopened in late July and Beatrix and I visited on our date (I’m working in alone dates with Bea and Larkspur as well as the younger kids.) Now I have a small collection of vases for all the flowers. I can go outside and cut a bunch, then invite her to arrange them in the vases which she enjoys. That buys me about five minutes! Ha!
The other day Job found me making mushrooms and wanted to help. I put him to work stuffing them and he enjoyed it far more than I would have expected. He told me, “I could do this forever.” Wow, who knew? Mabel helped as well. We have a bowl full of adorable mushrooms that we will string for a fall garland and then maybe we will hang them on the Christmas tree this year as well.
Everything is a little messy here. The house, the yard, life in general. But we are making good things, having fun, and figuring things out.
This fall may be our best yet.
p.s. Seth is trying to steal my kitten. The kitten favored me at first, but Seth seems to be winning the battle for his affections. When he comes into my room and calls, the kitten comes running for him and hops in his lap. He abandons my lap for Seth’s. I’ve told Seth it may be time for him to move out. Just kidding. Anyway, I decided not to call the kitten “Possum.” I originally wanted to name him Giuseppe but Larkspur had a fit because I already named one of our gerbils Giuseppe. I caved to her insistence and considered calling him Alfredo as I mentioned. Then Seth started calling him Possum so I went with that. But, after spending more time with him I have concluded that his name is Giuseppe after all. I gave one of my children the same name as one of my cats, so why shouldn’t a cat share a name with a gerbil? Lark isn’t pleased, but I don’t see what the big deal is. That gerbil is three years old. He won’t live forever. Not that I am wishing for his death but just pointing out facts.
p.p.s The cards that Mabel is playing with are called Close Up art cards. We’ve had them for many years, and I think I originally bought them at an art museum, but I am not sure. I found some online here. I highly recommend these!